A guide to local haunts just in time for Halloween
October 3, 2013 4:00 AM
The ScareHouse is an elaborate haunted house attraction inside a nearly 100-year-old historic and haunted building.
By Scott Mervis Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
There are those among us for whom a haunted house with ghouls and chainsaws is not sufficient to get blood chilled or adrenalin pumping.
For those extreme riders, The ScareHouse in Etna, already one of the top-rated haunted attractions in the country, has a proposal: "The Basement."
It's an R-rated experience, for those 18 and up, that's intense enough to require participants sign a waiver before entering.
"Unlike the main ScareHouse haunt," says creative director and co-owner Scott Simmons, "this experience involves extended and intimate encounters with our performers, who not only scare you but touch and restrain you. A few hints: handcuffs, dark closets, hoods, needles, fluids ... it's very much an adult experience. A few of our performers also appeared in [Bricolage's production of] 'Strata' last year, and this event does involve some of the same kind of immersion and interactive experiences, but it is considerably darker and intense.
"There is no nudity," he adds, "but the haunt does contain profanity and uncomfortable subject matter."
He compares it to a haunt in the Chelsea area of New York City called "Blackout" but says, "Ours is much less about the extreme content of blood and gore -- and more about messing with the mind and being extremely creepy. It's like stepping into a David Lynch movie, really. Very much like a 'Blue Velvet' experience."
Mr. Simmons is expecting about 5 percent of ScareHouse visitors to take the Basement plunge.
"It's like the 'atomic wings' or other super-spicy challenges you see at restaurants ... there will also be that small group of people who really crave the extreme experience, or the kind of intimate encounters that can't really occur in the main haunted house ... but it's really too extreme for most of the audience."
Less extreme than ScareHouse are staples like Kennywood's Phantom Fright Nights, Hundred Acres Manor Haunted House and, of course, the ZooBoo.
THE SCAREHOUSE Includes three haunted attractions: Pittsburgh Zombies, Creepo's Christmas in 3-D and The Forsaken. May be too intense for children under 13. Open 7 p.m.-midnight Fridays and Saturdays; 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. on the other open nights. Oct. 4-6, 10-13, 17-20, 24-27 and Oct. 31 through Nov. 2. Free parking at Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium with a free shuttle ride to the ScareHouse in Etna. 412-781-5885. $19.99 at www.scarehouse.com. New this year and requiring separate paid admission of $19.99 or $34.99 for two guests to enter together is The Basement. Purchasing entrance to The Basement in advance from www.scarehouse.com is recommended as it may sell out often.
PHANTOM FRIGHT NIGHTS Experience sheer terror in BioFear, Voodoo Bayou, Motem Manor, Villa of the Vampires and other intense spectacles at Kennywood. The park's Phantom Fright Nights are open every Friday and Saturday through Oct. 26, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. It's also open Sunday, Oct. 13, 7 to 11 p.m. Available only on Oct. 4 is The Phantom's Pre-Scare Dinner, which includes a meal, admission to Phantom Fright Nights, early admission to BioFear at 6:45 p.m., and other treats for $49.99 plus $1.25 online processing fee. Costs of the other nights are $29.99 plus $1 amusement tax at the game; $26.99 if bought online or at Giant Eagle. For groups of 20 or more, call 412-464-9931 to save even more; www.phantomfrightnights.com. Not recommended for children under 13.
HAUNTED HILLS HAYRIDE AND THE VALLEY OF DARKNESS HAUNTED WALKING TRAIL Route 48, North Versailles. Climb aboard a tractor-pulled hay wagon, enter the castle gates and brace yourself for one scary ride. Save some scares for the Walking Trail filled with Halloween horrors. Benefits The Autism Society of Pittsburgh and The Spectrum Charter School. A free live band, karaoke and a DJ every Friday and Saturday night. Through Nov. 2. Fridays-Saturdays 7-11 p.m., Sundays and Oct. 23-24 and 30-31 from 7-10 p.m. $12 each attraction or $17 for both. See website for $3 off coupon. 412-823-4813 or www.hauntedhillshayride.com.
HUNDRED ACRES MANOR HAUNTED HOUSE Has six attractions, including The Maze, Brine Slaughterhouse and South Valley Hospital. Hundred Acres Drive, off Corrigan Drive, South Park. Oct. 3-6, 10-13, 16-30; Nov. 1-2. $18. 412-851-4286; www.hundredacresmanor.org
TERROR TOWN 30,000 square-foot haunted attraction at corner of 17th and Smallman streets, Strip District. 7 p.m.-midnight Oct. 5, 6, 10, 12, 13, 17-20, 24-27. Oct. 31-Nov. 2. $16.99; 412-315-7331; email, firstname.lastname@example.org; computer site, www.terrortownpgh.com.
CASTLE BLOOD 11 Eastgate Ave., Monessen, Westmoreland County. Friday-Sunday Oct. 4 through Nov. 2, plus Thursday, Oct. 31. Ticket booth open 7-10 p.m. $15. "No Scare" daylight tours available for kids, 2 to 5 p.m., Oct. 20 and 27, $7.50. 724-314-3563. www.castleblood.com.
HAUNTED TRAIL Near the Tour-Ed Mine site in Tarentum. The Shadows, a zombie funhouse program, will take place in the woods near the Tour-Ed Mine property on Oct. 3-5, 10-12, 17-19, 24-26 and 31. Hours on Thursdays are 7 to 10 p.m., and on Fridays and Saturdays 7 to 11 p.m. Admission is $10, which can be bought on the website, www.theshadowshauntedattraction.com,or at the site. Sponsor is Naked Ghost Productions. 724-882-5448.
DEMON HOUSE 417 Coyle Curtain Road, Monongahela. Oct. 4-6, 11-13, 18-20, 24-27, 31; Nov. 1, 2, 8, 9. Doors open at 7 p.m. Box office closes at midnight Friday and Saturday and at 10 p.m. Thursday and Sunday; $18. www.demonhouse.com; 724-483-3580.
ALLEN'S HAUNTED HAYRIDES A wagon takes passengers on a ride through the woods, cornfields and into the "Haunted Barn." Carnival rides, games and concessions. Through Nov. 2. 7:30-9:30 p.m. Thursdays; 7:30-10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. $13. 2430 Pittsburgh Road, Smock, Pa. 724-677-2589; www.allenshayrides.com
FRIGHT FARM Haunted Mansion, Haunted Hayride, and Terror Maze -- located on Rich Farms, 2043 Springhill Furnace Road, Smithfield. It takes 1 1/2 hours to tour the Fright Farm area. Tours will be held every day except Mondays and Tuesdays until Nov. 2, with hours 6 p.m. until 10 on weekdays and until midnight Fridays and Saturdays. $25. On Wednesdays, students, senior citizens and military members with I.D. get a $15 admission. For other discounts, look at www.frightfarm.com. 724-564-7644 or 1-888-564-7644 .
CHEESEMAN'S FRIGHT FARM Cheeseman Road, off Route 19, Portersville, Butler County. Opens weekends from Oct. 4, 5, 6, 11, 12, 13 and 17-20, 24, 25, 26, and 27, the last day. $15. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. A pumpkin festival is held from noon to 5 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays of those dates. 724-368-3233; www.cheesemanfarm.com.
LINCOLN CAVERNS' GHOSTS AND GOBLINS 30th annual haunted cave, train and hayride. Friday and Saturday, from Oct. 4 until Oct. 26. U.S. R oute 22, 7703 William Penn Highway, Huntingdon. 1-814-643-0268. www.lincolncaverns.com.
WEST DEER NIGHTMARE Haunted attraction is a tour of the "possessed house of Noah Hobbs." 7-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 7-10 p.m Sundays and Oct. 28-30. Maple Ave., Bairdford Park, West Deer. $10. www.westdeernightmare.com
CASTLE GHOST TOURS Haunted tours of Nemacolin Castle. 6-10 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays in October, and Oct. 31 through Nov. 3. $9; $4 children 12 and under. http://www.nemacolincastle.org/
ZOMBIES OF THE CORN Zombie paintball shoot, corn maze, ghost stories. 7 p.m.-midnight Thursdays through Saturdays in October. $25; $20 children under 10. 282 Rochester Road, Freedom (five minutes from Cranberry). 724-775-6232; www.zombiesofthecorn.com
HAUNTED MINI GOLF With glow in the dark balls. 2142 Broadhead Rd, Hopewell. Daily through Nov. 2. www.hopewellwindmill.com
FAVORITE FAMILY HAUNTS
ZOOBOO Candy giveaways, costume contest and parade and gymkhana's haunted hideaway and the zoo's Haunted House. Oct. 19-20 and 26-27, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sponsored by WPXI TV, BobFM 96.9 and Q92.9. Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium, Highland Park. Free with zoo admission. 412-665-3640; zoo.pgh.pa.us.
BUMP IN THE NIGHT A Halloween program at Frick Environmental Center that requires pre-registration; application is available on the CitiParks website, click on Frick Environmental Center and download a registration form to mail in. The program is $11 for adults 12 and older and $9 for kids 3 to 11. No children under age 3 are permitted. It's a non-scary Halloween program, with people carving pumpkins, roasting marshmallows, meeting a nocturnal animal, going on a short night-walk and ending with a singalong. 7 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 11-12, 18-19. Space is limited. Frick Environmental Center, 2005 Beechwood Blvd., Squirrel Hill. 412-422-6538.
NATIONAL AVIARY HALLOWEEN DAYS Oct. 19 and Oct. 26, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Story time and crafts; meet the National Aviary owls. National Aviary, North Side. No pre-registration required. $13; $11 per child. 412-258-9445.
HALLOWEEN AT CHILDREN'S MUSEUM OF PITTSBURGH Annual Member Halloween Spook-tacular, membership event from 5:30-7:30 p.m. on Oct. 25. Call 412-322-5058, ext. 274. On Oct. 26, Monster Mash, 1 to 3 p.m. Join us and make yourself up as your favorite monster.
GATEWAY CLIPPER FLEET HALLOWEEN CRUISES
Halloween Fun Cruises: The Halloween fun cruise features a DJ Halloween Monster Party and a special Pirate performance. Prize and raffle giveaways (not for costumes) and treat bags. Oct. 26 from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (boards 10:30 a.m.) and 1:30-3:30 p.m. (boards 1:15 p.m.). $26.25; $12.60 children 2-12.
Halloween WhoDunItDinner: Oct. 16, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Passengers board at 5:30. $72.99 per person. Enjoy a dinner buffet while sailing on the Three Rivers. See the whodunnit called "The Haunting" for Halloween.
Haunted Halloween Dinner: Oct. 25, 6:30-9:30 p.m. Boards 5:30 p.m. $72.99 per person. Haunted Halloween show, "Spirits on the Mon!"
Bob FM Boo-N-Brew Cruise: With the band Random Play. Must be 21 or older with proper ID to ride this cruise. A wild costume contest with great prizes. Oct. 26. Boards 7 p.m., Sails 8-11 p.m. www.gatewayclipper.com; 412-355-7980.
LANTERN TOURS Depreciation Lands Museum, South Pioneer Road, Hampton. Family-friendly guided tour of the Depreciation Lands Museum and cemetery by lantern light. Costumed guides and demonstrators will be in every building to share gentle tales, superstitions, and customs from the past. Oct. 19 and 26, 6-9 p.m. $5 adults, $3 children. 412-486-0563, DepreciationLands@gmail.com or DepreciationLandsMuseum.org.
PUMPKIN PATCH TROLLEY Trolley rides and pumpkin patch. Pennsylvania Trolley Museum, across the street from Washington County Fairgrounds. Oct. 4-6, 11-13, 18-20, and 25-27. Adults $10, seniors $9, children 1-15, $7. Pumpkin included with admission price for kids. 724-228-9256; www.pa-trolley.org.
TRICK OR TREAT At the Heritage Museum, 224 E. 7th Ave. in Tarentum, on Oct. 27, 2 to 5 p.m. People will give stories about the museum displays representing sites of the early 1920s and award treats to kids. A $5 donation is suggested, but admission is free to children in costumes. 724-224-7666.
ZOMBIE FEST "The It's Alive Show" presents bands, zombie Olympics, a best scream contest, ugly pageant, food, motorcycle fun and more. Arsenal Park, Lawrenceville. Oct. 12 from noon to 9 p.m. Free. Bring a nonperishable food donation for the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. www.pittsburghzombiefest.com
BONE BASH GALA Arthritis Foundation's 4th annual event, themed Warlocks, Witches and Warhol, takes place at the Andy Warhol Museum, North Side, from 6 to 11 p.m. Oct. 12. The costume-optional gala features a strolling dinner, silent auction and festive fun including screen printing, costume contest, photo booth and the live band - Jason Kendall Productions. Ticket prices range from $225 for admission to the entire Gala to $25-$35 for a two-hour dance party at the end of the evening. Visit www.bonebashpittsburgh.com.
EERIE HORROR FILM FESTIVAL AND EXPO Annual horror film festival with three days of independent film screenings and celebrity guests.. See website for complete schedule. Warner Theatre, Erie, Oct. 18-20. 814-873-2483, www.eeriehorrorfest.com.
NORTHERN NIGHTMARES HALLO-WEEN FESTIVAL The Nightmare Tour -- Trolley tours of alleged haunted locales in Zelienople and Harmony. Oct. 18-19, 25-26 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30 p.m., adults $15, children under 12 $9. Chiller Theater -- Horror movies, trailers and clips. Strand Theater, 119 N. Main St., last two Fridays and Saturdays in October. See website for movies and prices; show times are 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 4 p.m. Sundays. Rocky Horror Picture Show at Strand Theater Oct. 18., 10:30 p.m. Prices of shows and movies vary. Information: 724-742-0400; www.northernnightmares.com.
WOODLANDS FALL FESTIVAL HAUNTED TRAIL: Oct. 19, 4-8 p.m. Not-so-scary haunted trail is featured from 6 to 8 p.m. Storytelling, field games, a face-painting station and live music. Admission free but donations appreciated. The Woodlands, 134 Shenot Road, Wexford. www.mywoodlands.org.
MONSTER BASH MOVIE MARATHON at The Ligonier Theater from noon until after midnight Oct. 20. Admission for one feature or the entire 13 hours of scares is $12 at the door or $10 in advance. Movies to be shown include "Nosferatu" (1922), the first Dracula movie; "Frankenstein," the first Frankenstein film, made in 1910 by Thomas Edison. Fun will include spooky creatures roaming the theater and historical backgrounds of the films. Feel free to come in costume. For information and advance admission memberships to the Marathon, go to www.creepyclassics.com or email email@example.com. 724-238-4317 or 724-516-9147.
HALLOWEEN TRAIL Themed trail and treats for kids. Hospital Fitness Trail, around Canonsburg General Hospital. Oct. 24, 4-5:30 p.m. Free program for all. 724-745-6100.
TRANNIES, GRANNIES, AND MC HAMMER 96.1 KISS 8th annual Halloween Party at Stage AE, North Shore, features a live performance by MC Hammer ("U Can't Touch This"), as well as music from DJ Scottro and a costume contest with prizes. 7-11 p.m. Oct. 26. Tickets are $32. Ticketmaster.com.